The National Education Association (NEA) together with the National PTA (NPTA) supports a standard regulation of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Anything above this limit has proved to cause significant stress among families.
The regulation practically translates to about 10 minutes of after-class work for first graders and up to 2 hours of homework for senior high school students. Donaldson Pressman further warned that the grades, social skills, quality of life, and self-confidence of children would deteriorate if these levels were to be exceeded.
A case study of Rhode Island that surveyed 1,100+ parents with school-age kids showed that all children including kindergarteners usually get more than 25 minutes of after-class exercises. The researchers claim that this could cause family stress especially if the parents have little or no educational backing of their own.
Furthermore, it was reported that there is a 200% chance of a family fight happening when the parents have anything less than a college degree. To manage this, many parents are now adopting the no-homework policy in their homes.
The downside for high school students
Research done by Stanford University back in 2013 reported that high school students who spend most of their time on after-school work had physical health issues, were stressed up, lacked balanced life, and were alienated from society.
With a survey of more than 4300 students from 10 different schools, this study reported that 3+ hours of at-home activities are counterproductive for high schoolers.
The report further highlighted that 56% of the students reported homework as their primary stressor with 80% of them listed to have had at least a single stress-related symptom within a month. This ranged between headaches, lack of sleep, stomach problems, body exhaustion, and loss of weight.
Despite most of the students’ focus on their academic life, spending too much time on homework means having less time to nurture other skills, develop their social life, and participate in a hobby.
Homework-related pressure take a toll on health
A similar study was done by the New York University, though on a smaller scale, in 2015 among students at an elite-level private high school noted mirrored results.
The study highlighted dire health effects for the students including emotional exhaustion, alcoholism, chronic stress, and drug abuse. From the survey, these students have to cope with a minimum of 3 hours of after-class tasks every night as well as the pressure for extracurricular activities and that of taking college-level units.
Many of them feel that this is inappropriate for their developmental stage and the workload makes them work hard like adults depriving them of spare time to relax. More than two-thirds admitted to using alcohol and other drugs like “weed” to cope with stress and pressure.
Quality matters more
Experts continue to argue, research, and debate the advantages and setbacks of homework.
However, according to one Stanford research, many students perceive most of their homework as pointless and mindless. Something that the researchers used to base their point that homework needs to foster learning, nurture development, have a purpose and benefit the learner.